27 Rue de Fleurus (My Life with Gertrude)

by  Ted Sod, Lisa Koch

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  5f

"27 Rue de Fleurus gets its sweetness from a genuine love of its subject, the marriage" of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. The music is well handled by John Bell; and the all-female cast sings excellently." - The Village Voice

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27 Rue de Fleurus (My Life with Gertrude)

by  Ted Sod Lisa Koch

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27 Rue de Fleurus (My Life with Gertrude)

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5f
  • Duration

    Duration

    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Period
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Chamber Musical – flexible casting 5-12 Females

Unlike most of the stage works about Gertrude and Alice, 27 Rue de Fleurus is told from Alice's point of view. Alice tries to set the record straight about being Gertrude Stein's "wife" for nearly 40 years. Gertrude grows tired of Alice's lack of panache for telling her perspective of their story and attempts to hijack the play (as only the author of such lines as "sugar is not a vegetable" can). But Alice has secrets to share with the audience that silence the famously verbose Gertrude. This celebrated couple confronts each other about love, marriage, jealousy, genius and a few other delicious topics while Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mabel Dodge, Sylvia Beach and even Jean Harlow drop by for a visit.

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Reviews

REVIEWS

"What we have here is a love story, fraught with jealousy and passion like others, but most of all, it celebrates the incredible bond between two women who decided to share their lives, even during a time when it was relatively unheard of. That alone makes 27 Rue de Fleurus worth an evening of your time." - GO Magazine

"Credit Ted Sod and Lisa Koch, writers of 27 Rue de Fleurus, with the provocative notion of fashioning a revisionist musical from Alice B. Toklas' corrective version of her life with literary giant Gertrude Stein. Name-dropping opening number "Salon (Let's Talk)" sets the smart tone for the musical's mise en scene -- the Parisian apartment at 27 Rue de Fleurus where Gertrude (Barbara Rosenblat) and her companion Alice (Cheryl Stern) preside over a fashionable literary salon that attracts artists and writers of international renown, as well as the occasional American feminist and Hollywood movie star. It's an inviting scene, to be sure." - Variety

"27 Rue de Fleurus gets its sweetness from a genuine love of its subject, the marriage of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. The music is well handled by John Bell; and the all-female cast sings excellently."" - The Village Voice

"Bookwriter Ted Sod, who collaborated on the lyrics with Lisa Koch, have both done the most important thing right: They've made Stein and Toklas human beings who are struggling through the confines of a marriage, with Stein "playing" the husband, and Toklas the wife. Koch sure likes to write waltzes; not since Night Music has a score contained so many. But they're all lovely-to-beautiful. The opening is a good deal of fun, because the waltz plays against all the ungainly subjects Gertrude, Alice, and their guests discuss." - Theatremania

"Ms. Rosenblat, who, seated, resembles portraits of Stein, plays Gertrude as a commanding bully. And Ms. Stern's Alice is a bright, attractive creature. ("Everyone is entitled to a bit of fantasy," she says.) They're strong, plausible performances." - The New York Times

"This is Alice's turn, Alice's attempt to put herself center stage and give her version of being "the woman behind the woman." The show's opening has a genuine brightness as Alice introduces herself as a transformed glamorous creature, the Alice she wanted to see in the mirror. We enter the salon of 27 Rue de Fleurus, where Alice has come to live and Gertrude bluntly sings, "Be my wife, Alice/Give up your life, Alice." The two opening songs — "Salon (Let's Talk)" and "Genius" — glow with good humor and witty lyrics and set the salon as the place to be. As well as Picasso and Fitzgerald, it's also the scene for Mabel Dodge, Sylvia Beach, Marian Walker, and even Jean Harlow." - Backstage

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1940s / WWII, 1930s, 1920s, 1910s / WWI
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting:

    1910 and beyond. The mind and imagination of Alice B. Toklas

  • Additional Features: No intermission, Play w/ Music
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway, Pop/Rock, Folk
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Piano Only
  • Chorus Size: Small

Song Samples

Let's Talk
0:00
Genius
0:00
Place on the Wall
0:00
I Taught You Everything
0:00
Be My Wife
0:00
Role Play
0:00
Violette
0:00
Hemingway
0:00
I Am Your Muse
0:00
Alone
0:00

Casting

5f

ALICE B. TOKLAS - petite, occasionaly dry and sometimes caustic. The woman behind the woman. Madly in love with Gertrude and emotionally vulnerable. The perfect hostess to those whom she admires; no so generous to others.
GERTRUDE STEIN - robust, stout, a larger-than-life personality. She is a masculine and handsome woman. A self- proclaimed genius who speaks her own mind eloquently.
LEO STEIN - Gertrude's dyspeptic brothers; has a very high opinion of himself and thinks little of Alice's relationship to his sister.
PABLO PICASSO - a famous artist whose ego is huge and who has problems understanding languages and concepts other than his own.
MARIAN WALKER - a family friend of Gertrude's from Baltimore, she is feminist who has a large family.
MABEL DODGE - the notorious narcissistic socialite/heiress and femme fatale.
SYLVIA BEACH - a no-nonsense lesbian who is proprietor of Shakespeare and Company, an English languages bookstore in Paris.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD - a famous writer who is alcoholic and has low self-esteem.
MAY BOOKSTAVER - a beauty who was Gertrude's first love from medical school at Radcliffe.
VIOLET STARTUP - a Seattle farm girl with whom Alice was smitten when she was 19.
JEAN HARLOW - the famous seductive screen siren of the 1930's who sported platinum hair. Her generation's Madonna.
DOCTOR - French, tells Alice that Gertrude's illness is grave.
PAINTINGS, WIVES

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Cast Attributes

  • All Female
  • Ensemble cast
  • Cross gender casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Flexible casting
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

The play is intended to be performed by an ensemble of women.  It can be performed with as many as 12 actresses or as few as 5. If you employ five, one actress plays Alice; one plays Gertrude; and three versatile women cover Leo, Sylvia and Violet; Marian, F. Scott, May and the Doctor; and Picasso, Mabel and Jean.  However, you could redistribute those role assignments as you see fit.  Everyone but Alice doubles as paintings and wives. 

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

6 Piano/Conductor Scores

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Authors

Ted Sod

Librettist and co-lyricist Ted Sod has been dramaturg for the education department at Roundabout since 2002. WRITING: Papa’s Prince, The Cousins Grimm (The Bailiwick Rep/Chicago; readings at NYMF, York Theatre and Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center); 27, Rue de Fleurus (Urban Stages, NYC/Published by Samuel French); Satan a ...

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Lisa Koch

Composer and co-lyricist Lisa Koch is a Seattle singer-songwriter/actor/comedian. She has co-written such warped shows as The Carpeters: Uncomfortably Close To You, Two’s Company, I’m a Crowd, and Ham for the Holidays: Lard Potion No. 9. As an actor, she has appeared in The Vagina Monologues(Phoenix Theatre, Indianapol ...

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Urban Stages by Playwright's Preview Productions, 2008

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